Ivan Todorov, manager of Nebbebodagården in Olofström in southern Sweden, told The Local that he wants to make a difference for women who he argued have a tougher time getting away from their jobs to eat out for lunch in comparison to men.
“I wish the price reduction wasn’t necessary, but that’s just the best case scenario,” he said.
“In an ideal world I’d like for women to have the same opportunities as men do to go and eat out. Even if I can’t have an impact on the overall problem, the least I can do is impact our prices.”
Todorov offers a ten kronor ($1.21) reduction on the restaurant’s lunch buffet for female guests, and came up with the idea after noticing that the majority of his customers were male.
Though he stopped short of calling the move a feminist one, he did admit that he thinks women are under a disproportionate amount of stress, and his hope is to proactively make a difference.
“Women maybe have more stressful jobs, it’s more difficult for them to get away from them, and there’s an economic element,” he explained.
“There’s a health factor too. It would be great to give women a bigger chance to get out of their job for a bit, sit in the sun, eat and relax,” he added.
The move comes amid strong debates about gender equality in Sweden where studies have suggested the country is now stalling on the issue despite previous rapid advances compared to other countries.
Across Sweden, women's salaries have stayed at 93 percent of men's salaries since the mid-1990s.
Todorov's effort to close the gender gap could be on fragile legal ground however, according to Susanne Fransson, Associate Professor of Legal Studies at Gothenburg University.
“Unfortunately there is no room for positive discrimination according to gender. Discrimination law is quite blunt, and the equal treatment rule is very strong,” she told news agency TT.
Nevertheless, Left Party member Todorov told The Local that his customers have largely received the price-cut with open arms.
“The guests have only had nice things to say about it. It’s 90 percent men who eat here daily, so they’ll only be happy if some women come along too!” he insisted.